We recently looked at things to do in Dresden, or more accurately, things to do in Dresden’s Old Town. Today, it’s time to head over the river and into the Neustadt.
Dresden Neustadt is the alternative contrast to the baroque fairytale of the Old Town. Along the Elbe River the palaces continue, but after you hit Albertplatz there is little gentrification in sight. Students, artists, and other interesting folk live here, disparagingly referring to the Old Town as “Disneyland”.
The Inner New Town
Crossing the river on the Augustusbrucke you see a gold statue of a man on a horse. This is Augustus the Strong, the Elector of Saxony. From here until Albertplatz, Antonstraße and Bautzner Straße is the Inner New Town, or Innere Neustadt.
Beside the river
The meadows alongside the river provide a great spot for sunbathing, kicking around a football, or cycling. All during summer of course! There are also some excellent photo opportunities looking towards the Old Town in any weather.
In Palais Square you’ll find the natural history museum and a museum dedicated to the Damascus carpet and Turkish arts.
Eating and shopping on Hauptstraße
On either side of the golden Augustus is some of my favourite eating in Dresden. The microbrewery Watzke also serves an excellent flammkuchen while the ice cream store opposite has a wonderful range of delicious sorbets and ice creams.
There’s interesting shopping just off this pedestrian arterial with small fashion stores to be found, serving the more conservative (and deep pocketed), while punk and alternative fashionistas are well looked after further out. We stayed in this area for a few nights at the Bulow Residenz: It served as a perfect point of contact between the Old Town and the New Town.
The Outer New Town
To my mind, this is the most exciting area of Dresden. The coldness of the Communist-era apartment blocks is contrasted with the energy of its inhabitants.
Eating and drinking
There are so many options here, I don’t even know where to begin. My favourite snack was found at Curry and Co, a small bar that specialises in currywurst and chips. There’s limited seating in a funky environment, and the option to take away. We found some great bars on the Dresden Night Walk tour including Zille, Stilbruch and Room 64. At the latter I ended up with an custom-mixed whisky cocktail which hasn’t been rivalled since.
On the street
While there are countless bars and clubs, the real life of the New Town happens on the street. Pick up some beer or cheap spirits at one of the many late shops and head down to almost any street corner with people will be congregating, the area around Louisenstraße and GorlitzerStraße being one of the most popular.
The colourful republic
After the fall of communism the Colourful Republic of Dresden Neustadt was founded. The utopian ideal (complete with its own monetary system) failed, but is still celebrated each year in a massive party with tens of thousands packing the streets of the new town. It’s worth being in Dresden for, but don’t expect to find accommodation easily or to get any sleep that night.
Without doubt, the best thing to do outside Dresden is hiking in Saxon Switzerland. This large national park boasts excellent climbing, although it’s far too technical for beginners. Saxony has its own system for climbing difficulty which seems to be much harder than the EU standard.
Hiking, however, is very accessible. There are many well-marked trails with the highlight being the romantic stone fortifications and soaring bridges between the kaarst spires. Unfortunately, lots of tour buses stop here too, but you can quickly find yourself on less-busy paths after checking out the great views.